Welcome to the ultimate luxury design blog
When our eyes travel over any space we immediately catalogue specific focal points. We do this naturally as our eyes are drawn quickly to the most prominent features of a space or to the most unusual point in an area.
When it comes to interior design we can trick our brains to make certain areas of a room the focal point. Think of the focal point like a centre of activity in a room, designed to draw the eyes and create an effect for the room.
Making A Statement and Creating an Effect
The focal point for a room should reflect what the room is and also what mood it wants to create. A living room wants to be a place you feel comfortable and relaxed, a dining room is somewhere to entertain and a bedroom is a retreat from the world. When thinking of your focal point you want to make a statement that encompasses the room and your own sense of identity. This could be a piece of art that speaks to you or an antique piece of furniture.
Building a Focal Point
There are lots of specific items and designs that can be used as focal points and choosing something is largely down to personal taste. Size plays a crucial role in drawing the eye but so does colour and shape. There are a number of ideas to explore such as;
Fireplaces – A fireplace is the traditional focal point for living rooms as it creates a sense of warmth, even when unlit. Built in modern faux fireplaces can look incredible in the right setting whilst traditional brick or inglenook fireplaces create a traditional focal point.
Furniture – Large furniture draws the eye particularly bureaus, curio cabinets and sofas or chairs. Placing them in the centre of a wall means that they split the wall into three – which triggers visual centres in the brain.
Art – art works particularly well above a mantelpiece, over a bed or in a prominent position above furniture. A single large painting can speak volumes about a person and a place. Position your art at eye level or slightly above eye level for the best effect.
Antiques – in much the same way as art, an antique in a prominent position will draw the eye
Mirrors – Mirrors act as an unusual focal point as they open up a room. The eye will be drawn to a large mirror and then will soak in the feel of the entire room.
Textures – a focal point doesn’t have to be a single item it can be a single wall or area of the room. One off-colour wall or textured brick work wall will instantly create a focal point for a room. Wallpaper or textured plaster can work equally well here.
Architecture – unusual shapes capture the eye and you can build around unusual brickwork or shapes in a room to create a focal point architecturally rather than through objects. This is particularly useful where stairs or other intrusions into a room change the shape.
Designing around the focal point
Once you have a focal point it’s important to build outwards from it. All objects accompanying the focal point should be smaller and less eye catching so that the main focus always remains. We like to compliment focal points either minimally, with a select few pieces, or with one or two moderately large pieces that blend to create one seamless focal design image.
Bedrooms should be a place of rest and solitude, after all this is where you will generally unwind from the day and surprisingly spend one third of you're life sleeping.
Applying basic feng shui principles to ones bedroom is critical. Simple steps like placement of the bed which should always face the entrance of your room and having your bed up against a solid wall creates strong positive energy.
A focal point in any room is important too especially in you're bedroom, you're eye will naturally look for this otherwise there can be a sense of confusion and distortion in the space.
Headboards are a great way to create a focal point and over recent years have become a design feature that most designers are keen to be creative with. A bespoke headboard is ofcourse the best solution, clients request something uniquely made for them which will reflect their personality and the scheme of the bedroom. A range of materials can be used from intricate hand cut paterned leather panels to mixture of glass, woods and metal.
Another important aspect of ones bedroom is of course lighting. Generally in a bedroom you should consider no more than three different focal points for lights which can range from ceiling, wall and bedside lights, all of which can bring ambience in a room aswell as being functional and practical.
With the above in mind bedroom designs should be kept cleanlined and uncluttered whilst introducing a mixture of warm sumptuous materials and textures.
Your office reception works much like a website’s front page design. It is the first point of contact that companies and customers have with your business. It is literally the public face of your company. At Casa Forma we make snap decisions about a person within ten seconds of meeting them – we can’t help it it’s human nature. The same is true of decisions about a company and your reception area needs to make a great first impression.
We always start with design itself before looking at décor as we need to make sure that the space is optimised correctly to create the right impression. Your reception area should be focused towards the reception desk itself. A large wide desk with computers and your company logo above is normally the best way to make a good first impression.
Light is incredibly important in your reception area. Too dark an area makes people feel on edge and detracts from the visual feast you want to serve people. Soft natural light is ideal and you can supplement with overhead spotlights, side lights and mirrors if you don’t benefit from a glass entrance.
We also want to make sure that there is a warm and welcoming waiting area. This should be comfortable, branded and feature your company or industry literature – reinforcing the impression that your business is at the top of its game.
Materials are also incredibly important but don’t have to be expensive. Traditional businesses will often benefit from rich, corporate or luxury materials in their design. Black marble, rich mahogany and mirrors help create this luxury feel whilst increasing space. However, many more modern businesses, particularly in the tech industry, benefit from the opposite image – relaxed spaces, light colours and a friendly colour scheme. At the end of the day your design needs to reflect your brand and your corporate message.
Receptions should feel relaxed, comfortable and not cluttered. Decoration should be kept relatively minimal with brand logos, plants and amenities available. Try to have a few well-chosen and placed objects rather than a clutter. For many companies a focal point piece of art can make an incredible impression but it isn’t a necessity. What furniture you choose is however very important. Chairs and sofas are an ideal solution but you should choose ones that reflect your company – big, soft and comfy if that’s your image or modern and artistic if that’s your image. You should always provide a table for work and refreshments so that guests can quickly settle.
How you display your branding and how you design the actual office reception is important. We want to make sure that we convey our core brand messages to potential clients and that our brand is a key association our office makes. Décor such as art, images and corporate awards should feature subtly in your office to contribute to your brand persona.
Consistency is also very important. It’s no good making a great first impression in your reception if the rest of your office is cluttered or plain. We want to replicate all of the receptions design and branding throughout your office to make sure that first impression sticks with visitors throughout their stay.
Designing a reception well will make the perfect business impression and we can’t recommend it enough! If you need assistance don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
When it comes to creating truly unique interiors antiques are often the best objects to build around. They can bring together a room and often have wonderful stories to tell about a time, a place or a history. Choosing antiques is a pleasure in itself and we love visiting antique fairs, auctions and local shops to try and find unique items. With that in mind we thought we’d create a quick guide for anyone looking for antiques to compliment particular designs.
Antique Styles and The Designs they Compliment
The history of antiques is complex and sprawling with British designs taking their names from periods associated with reigns of monarchs. However, there are also antiques that fall into artistic movements, cultural moments and industries – for example maritime antiques. Here we look at some of the most common styles you can access.
Art Nouveau ran from 1896- 1914 and embodies a time when jewellery and fashions were changing dramatically. The styles of furniture and art are popularised by curves with sweeping lines and furniture with slimmed upholstery and beautiful elegant curves. This style of furniture wasn’t mass produced so it easy to pick up unique items.
This style works exceptionally with modern designs.
Victorian antiques cover a broad spectrum of styles but typically the features are heavy wood, furniture with beautiful upholstery, ornate glassware and china. Victorian furniture can work with all styles of design from modern to classical so it is easy to find antiques for any interior decoration style.
The Baroque period refers to 17th and 18th century European arts, architecture and style. Baroque furniture and antiques typically feature very ornate carvings with astonishingly beautiful wood and gilt work. Original baroque furniture is highly sought after with a high price tag but there are plenty of modern imitations. This style works with rich classical designs and any room trying to be opulent.
The gothic revival period was short lasting from 1840-1860 but has influenced design and art ever since. Gothic antiques are characterised by dark colours and striking medieval displays. These antiques are highly prized and work in hyper modern design and dark classical libraries or lounges.
When it comes to designing around antiques it is very easy to find something you like. We have worked with antiques in all styles and most people tend to have a variety of eras and objects – they are at the end of the day personal objects to choose. If you are planning a single design element it is great to choose one era or style but remember that these periods also produced exceptional plain objects (typically furniture) that can work with all styles.
At Casa Forma we specialise in luxury interior design and have been fortunate enough to work on some of the most captivating buildings and projects the world has ever seen. From luxury apartments in Mayfair, hotels in Saudi Arabia to a private yacht in Monaco the Casa Forma team have worked on some incredible locations and projects.
However you don’t need to break the bank to create a sense of luxury in your home so today we thought we would share some of our best luxury design tips…on a budget.
Colours in your home are what create the first, and biggest impression. If you want to create a luxurious feel you need to choose colours well.
Whites and Creams are, perhaps surprisingly for some, some of the best colours to create that luxury feel. They create a sense of space and when you combine them with colours such as black and gold you create an opulent image. Reflective colours and surfaces create a very luxurious feel and even if you can’t splash for white marble floors and black marble walls there are plenty of similarly textured materials available on the market.
If this style isn’t you then invest in rich dark colours like reds and browns which create the impression of old fashioned riches. These colours work exceptionally for a traditional design rich with antiques and wood trimmings.
Modern Luxury Design
If you are trying to design modern luxury then you don’t have to spend tens of thousands. Many modern materials are relatively cheap to acquire. We’d recommend you start with light and reflective colours and then supplement them with nice clean glass. Glass shelving works brilliantly as do glass coffee tables and mirrors. Once this is in place add in spotlighting around the room with downlights along the edges of walls and within shelving. This will combine to create a wonderfully light area that feels open but also refined and sophisticated.
In terms of furniture and decorations anything clean will work well with these styles of design. Ornaments with one or two rich colours work well though you can still use antiques and art alongside this style of design.
Classical Luxury Design
Classical luxury design can use whites and creams or rich dark colours supplemented with gold gilt and rich ornamentation. If you want to recreate the classical feel of palaces and French opulence then rich dark colours and gilts are for you. You’ll want to look for reproduction baroque furniture with extensive carved ornamentation to really capture that feel – upholstered in rich dark fabrics. If you want a more modest elegance opt for lots of dark woods and traditional leather upholstered furniture. This create the retiring room feel that many of us crave to escape the world.
In terms of ornamentation classical is surprisingly easy – rich vases, gilt framed art and antiques are your friends here and we couldn’t recommend beautiful old books enough!
Hopefully these tips will start inspiring you with your own designs. And if you need help don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Choosing a colour scheme for a room (or a whole house) is essential to creating an inspiring, and inspired, interior design. It is one of the fundamental things that needs to be just right if a room and a home is to come together. Here we’re going to share some of our favourite tips on creating a colour scheme that will work for you.
The Old Problem
One of the most common problems with interior design is whether to try and unify a design across a house, or apartment, or whether to treat each room individually and create a unique identity for it. Typically, for example, most of us treat bathrooms differently to bedrooms and bedrooms differently from kitchens.
A lot of this comes down to personal taste. But also the style of building you have to work with makes a huge difference.
Flats and Apartments
As there is limited space in most flats or apartments we find that creating a unified feel across all areas makes for a much better living space – everything fits together which creates a feeling of space.
Old houses tend to benefit from a greater degree of similar interior design as you tend to have old features to work with – meaning antiques and dark or light woods work particularly well as a basis for colour.
New houses offer more flexibility with a typically blank canvas to work from. This lets you pick any colour scheme for each room that you choose without compromising a houses feel.
Dark Or Light
The choice between dark and light colour schemes isn’t too important and most of the best interior designs blend dark and light to create a colour scheme. For example black marble works sumptuously with plain white paints or with golds and silvers. Conversely light pine can work perfectly with light blues, whites or dark purples and rich reds. One of the best options is to use a colour grouping.
Rather than looking at individual colours it is often better to look at colour palettes or schemes. These are pre-arranged selections of colours that usually move from a dark colour to a light colour. These are designed to make it easier to create a unified style for any room. Work from one of these, widely available online or from an interior designer, and you will be able to choose a range of colours that complement each other.
Furnishing and Fixtures
It is easy to look at a blank room and think “this shade of burgundy will look beautiful in this room” but often it is better to think of the furniture you have or want to include in the room. For example, If you have dark leather sofas these won’t be complemented by bright blue walls. It is better to look at what goes into the room – particularly large pieces of furniture – and then work towards your colour scheme.
In modern homes the one real premium is always space. Whether we are creating interior designs for country houses or luxury apartments there is never enough space. One of the key challenges we take on with all interior design work is maximising the space available to you. With that in mind we thought we would share some of our best tips for increasing your space.
Tip 1: Built in is better
Whenever we look at a room we like to see how much practical space can be saved using built in wardrobes, shelving and cupboards. The few centimetres that tend to fall behind most furniture and skirting boards can add a lot when taken across an entire room.
Our favourite tip here is to have floor to ceiling bookcases and shelving in living areas and built in wardrobes in bedrooms. This maximises space and gives plenty of storage to declutter your rooms.
Tip 2: Use Height
Most people fail to utilise the space that we don’t actually use for living. There are vast, hard to reach, areas that are perfect for displaying art, adding a touch of aesthetic flair or for storing rarely used items.
High shelves or storage cupboards are your friends here and will let you increase the actual living space and storage space available.
Tip 3: Use Walls
When it comes to interior design walls are often our best canvas to create an impression but there are certain rooms where walls really can be dedicated to space saving. The most important is the kitchen where racks, hooks and magnetic strips allows you to store all your saucepans, knives and cooking utensils on the walls rather than cupboards – showing off your culinary excellence and saving space.
Tip 4: Use Creative Furniture
Modern furniture often lets you mix storage with design. There are now sofas that double up as storage, bookcases and the more traditional sofa beds. There are tables that double up as entertainment centres and a variety of clever inventions to maximise space – many of which have a fantastic level of artistic and aesthetic appeal.
Tip 5: Move Your Bed
Beds take up a lot of space that could be used for other things. Whilst you might think a bunk bed is out of the question there are now plenty of modern designs for adults that are both stylish and comfortable – including ones with TV’s and even kitchens built underneath. You can also consider suspending beds from the ceiling by building supports and platforms for them – allowing you to often double the size of small studios or one bedroom flats.
The final Thought: Manage your Mind
How we perceive our living space contributes to the feeling of space we have. You can make a room feel bigger by increasing natural and artificial light or adding mirrors to strategic locations. You can also use natural light colours and natural objects to create a feeling of being outside and in space.
Modern living spaces are often typified by a distinct lack of space. Particularly in cities space is at an absolute premium. Combine this with our tendency to collect clutter and belongings and even the nicest space can quickly start feeling cramped. Whilst we can’t often increase the space in our home we can create the feeling and illusion of space in any room. Here we look at just a few of our tips to increase space.
If you follow this blog regularly you know that we regularly espouse the virtues of creating more light in a space. Natural light is the best place to start and increase window space is a great way to make a room feel larger. This isn’t always possible without extensive building work though so the alternative is to increase artificial lighting. Low level lighting tends to draw in spaces, making them warm and cosy. In contrast bright lights and spotlights help expand a space. We like to use lots of individual dimmable lighting so that you can tailor a room to the mood you want to create. You can also use mirrors effectively to make a room feel like it is opening up.
The more that is on display the more busy a room feels. This actually applies to everything from furniture to books and ornaments. Many of us fill our rooms with stuff and often every part ends up feeling cluttered. A better approach is to have just one or two ornaments in each section of the room. These pieces help open up spaces. In the same vein you should also consider organising more fully – finding closed spaces for items so that they don’t make your rooms feel messy.
Reorganise Your Furniture
Furniture should be organised carefully to maximise the feeling of space. Start by identifying currently dead spaces such as those behind furniture or between areas of the room. Then try drawing furniture away from other pieces as much as possible. In living rooms sofas and chairs should be separated out to allow free movement, in bedrooms beds should have lots of space on either side to allow you to dress and move around without bumping into anything.
Our brains associate space with nature and we can copy this feeling in our homes. Natural light is, of course, a big impacting factor but you can also recreate nature in other ways including with plants, woods, animals and most interestingly colour.
Colour helps you recreate the feeling of space. Lighter colours reflect more natural light which makes a room appear bigger to our eyes. Try and include colour in your rooms and intersperse it with lighter art pieces that help bring a room to life.
Optimise your Space
Finally, building in furniture to your home helps avoid dead spaces in the rooms but also allows you to organise things more effectively. As you know what you have in your home you can customise your space to match your belongings (and leave room for any more). Built in storage, shelving and cupboards can increase the available space in your home dramatically and, though expensive, allow you to create a completely unique interior design for your home.